Cricket has no boundaries with NatWest? The hyperreality of inclusion and diversity in English cricket

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Abstract

In this article, we examine England and Wales Cricket Board’s relationship with NatWest Bank and analyse its award-winning sponsorship campaign Cricket Has No Boundaries (CHNB). Drawing upon Jean Baudrillard’s concepts of the hyperreal and the non-event, we explore how CHNB presents an idealised image of English cricket. At the heart of this campaign is NatWest’s desire to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion and diversity through the lens of modern cricket, but what does this tell us about the ‘value’ of cricket in our neoliberal age? Using critical discourse analysis and semiotic analysis, we critique the campaign’s mediated content – advertisements, newspaper articles and short documentaries – and examine the role of commodities, signs and media messages in shaping CHNB’s hyperreal version of cricket. We also reflect upon the growth of corporate social responsibility in sport and discuss how brands exploit athletes’ lived experiences for financial gain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jun 2020

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